Ten years ago we were the quintessential newly married young couple. Not that we’re not the quintessential married couple now, but the key emphasis here is on the word young. We’d sold our condo and were excited to be moving into a house in a nearby neighborhood with a park for our dog to play in. We didn’t give much thought to the fact that there was also a lovely playground in the neighborhood park because we were in those carefree pre-children days where it was typical to lounge around all day and all night on Sundays, heck all weekend, head out for dinner and cheap margaritas with friends on Friday, go for long hikes with our dog Bailey, and read, truly read, the Sunday paper and not just glance at it during snatches of time sandwiched between “Mommy!” and “Daddy!” The world was our DINK (Dual Income, No Kids) oyster and we finally had our rescue dog we’d talked about adopting, neurotic as she might be, to help us explore it.
It was approaching dusk the day before our move and I was home packing when the hubby called. He told me he was on his way to the vet but first he’d explain everything, knowing I’d immediately worry about why he was making an impromptu visit to the vet. He quickly followed this up with the fact that Bailey, our Corgi/German Shepherd mix, was just fine. He was taking another dog to the vet. He’d been out with Bailey running errands in his brother’s truck, preparing for our move the next day, when he’d spotted a large red dog seriously injured and lying in a ditch. Not wanting to leave the dog to die in a ditch on the side of a busy highway, he picked the dog up and turned his head and braced himself for the injured animal to bite him. Instead, the dog turned his head away from my husband and let out an unreal scream, a noise that my husband has not heard since, and one he describes as truly a canine scream.
The hubby loaded the dog in the back of his brother’s truck and headed to a local vet, where I met him and an increasingly nervous Bailey, all the while not quite believing that not only was it the night before Thanksgiving, but that we were moving early the next morning and we had no business rescuing another dog. This did not work into my neat little idea of moving into a house, this second dog, but the minute I saw him I knew we had to help him. The vet and his techs examined the dog, gave him a steroid shot along with some other meds, and told us not to be surprised if when we woke up in the morning, he wouldn’t.
The next day the handsome red dog, an Akita/Chow mix, was still alive. We started carrying boxes out to the truck, stepping around him. The hubby had laid him on an old blanket downstairs and set food and water out for him but he hadn’t moved all night. This was why I was surprised when I came downstairs at one point to find the dog was gone.
I knew he couldn’t have gone far. He was sore and there was no telling what kind of internal injuries he’d sustained. I walked toward the kitchen and there he was. I assumed he’d half crawled, half limped just to the edge of the room where there was no longer carpet. I couldn’t figure out why he’d done this and then it dawned on me. This dog had to pee and he hadn’t wanted to pee on the carpet. I grabbed a paper cup from a kitchen cabinet and I did something I never dreamed I would ever do. I held a cup out for the dog to pee into. He looked at me like I was Mother Teresa.
Ten years to the day later that same dog sleeps every night on our bedroom floor. He’s been the best dog I’ve ever had. He guards our home, he is incredibly loyal and sensitive, he watches over the girls and doesn’t mind one bit when they dress him up in plastic beads and frou frou hats, he lives for our neighborhood walks, he squirrel watches, and he loves us.
And we love him right back.
Happy 10 years Jack. You are the best boy ever.